Manjaro! What you fukkaz doin’???
Ok, my beautiful babies, you know mommy Orcsi ain’t a supporter of wild und unregulated capitalism. That doesn’t say I’m not a fan of the free market n stuff. So inherently I have nothing to say against software companies. Let them make money for all their hard work, let them create a profit from their cleverly engineered products and distribution models.
Manjaro is a huge player on the Linux field, an important distro, as they brought the genius of ArchLinux into the public eyes and made this usually very stubbornly freaky distro accessible for the masses, until even a stupid housewife like Orca couldn’t resist, installed that Shit on her computer and was stante pede a better person. Like Ta-daaa!
Manjaro was started in 2011. Of course we have similar and better Arch derivatives now, as I tell and show you often enough in this here bloggo. Hell, I even left Manjaro behind and went on to greener pastures where I can feel even more like a super freak. 🙂 But let’s take DistroWatch’s charts as gospel for once, or at least see it as an indicator where the public interest is concentrated right now. And yes, Manjaro sits big and fat on rank #2. MX-19 on #1 is hardly worth the effort and attention and won’t be able to stick to that coveted spot for much longer. The blogging and YouTube scene slowly notices that all the hype around MX is mostly just that: A hype. A distro, no matter how well done, doesn’t deserve to be that high up in the charts if it only comes with one desktop environment, as MX unfortunately does. That’s not beginners friendly and fails the mass “market”. So maybe, hopefully we’ll see Manjaro back on #1 soon. Closely followed by other Arch derivatives and vanilla Arch as well.
But anyway, to get back to the beginning of this post, we’re living in a so-called capitalist(ic) society with a free market (eventhough capitalist and free market don’t work well together. Because a free market means competition, and capital, on principle, won’t tolerate competion). That aside, it’s the perverted toppsy turvy world most of us are living in. A world in wich things like FOSS and GNU/Linux shouldn’t exist. Still they do. And they’ve even turned out to be very profitable businesses, some of them.
But those who are successful in our society are companies who offer so much more than just a Linux distro, a handful stickers and t-shirts. They offer schooling, industry-recognized certificates, server versions of their software, office-centric customer care and all that good stuff. And when they play their cards right, they than can eventually sell their company for 7 billion woolongs to IBM.
But back to the basic bitch of a normal Linux distro: You can be a one-person-operation, like Namib GNU/Linux or a huge community, like Manjaro, you’re still bound to follow the principles of GNU and FOSS. Which means you can’t sell a basically free software and must find other ways to monetize your distro. Either going big like RHEL, SuSE, Canonical/Ubuntu and Oracle or … ya, what or? Guess why most distros get by on donation basis and by selling t-shirts. That a distro is huge and important enough to coax a manufacturer to sell their laptops with your distro and your stickers on them. Mint and Manjaro are doing exactly that already. And I guess this is a far as it goes for the usual Linux distro project. Hey, not even the usual; I guess your distro must be permanently holding a position in the Top 5, else it won’t make any sense. Linux ain’t a big cake, you know, and you need to own a huge slice of it to make any serious money.
And that’s why I doubt Manjaro’s idea (actually Philip Müller’s idea) was such a great one. I dunno how many Spitfire lappies are sold, and how big Majaro’s share of the profits is. Let’s face it, there is no money in hardware. And sideshows like a Linux distro, even if they get a big share of the profits, it’s still a big share of null, zilch, nada!
Writes Philip on the Manjaro website:
Started as a passion project by three ambitious guys back in 2011, Manjaro has evolved rapidly to establish itself as one of the most popular and well-known Linux distributions available today. Likely one of the main reasons for its success is a unique balance between a wide variety of an ever-growing diverse community and the consistency of a small and closely connected core team.
Today, many thousands of users are relying on the constancy, stability and security associated with Manjaro daily. The development and maintenance have become considerably more time consuming and a much larger task than can be managed by a few people in their spare time.
For some time, Philip has been investigating ways to secure the project in its current form and how to allow for activities which can’t be undertaken as a “hobby project”, and, along with the rest of the team, a plan of action has been created.
Most importantly: Manjaro itself is not changing and the project will continue to run in its current form.
The two main changes are:
- To transfer donation funds to a non-profit “fiscal host” which will then accept and administer donations on the project’s behalf. This secures the donations and makes their use transparent.
- A new established company, Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG, to enable full-time employment of maintainers and exploration of future commercial opportunities.
This new structure should enable Manjaro to reach the next level, for example:
- enable developers to commit full time to Manjaro and its related projects;
- interact with other developers in sprints and events around Linux;
- protect the independence of Manjaro as a community-driven project, as well as protect its brand;
- provide faster security updates and a more efficient reaction to the needs of users;
- provide the means to act as a company on a professional level.
The whole team agrees that nothing should change for the running of the project or its relationship with the community. It will remain open and welcoming for all users and contributors.
Manjaro as the Community and Project
The mission and goals of Manjaro will remain the same as before – to support the collaborative development of Manjaro and its widespread use. This effort will continue to be supported through donations and sponsorship and these will not, under any circumstances, be used by the established company.
To secure the existing project funds and future donations, Jonathon is in the process of establishing the project with fiscal hosts (CommunityBridge and OpenCollective). Team members will then be able to approve the use of donations to fund project-related expenses, for example:
- Sponsorship for upstream events and local Manjaro team and community events;
- Local community costs (e.g. shipping of equipment to Manjaro team and community members);
- Travel (e.g. coverage of full or part of the expenses for attending an event);
- Hardware and hosting costs.
There will be many other possibilities where community initiatives can be subsidized to help grow the Manjaro project and community.
Manjaro as a company and legal entity
In order to effectively engage in commercial agreements, form partnerships, and offer professional services a legal construct has been formed: Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG (wiki explanation).
On July 8th, Philip and Bernhard met together with the CEO of Blue Systems to officially found this business entity. As a result, Bernhard and Philip will now be able to commit full-time to Manjaro, while Blue Systems will take a role as an advisor.
The company will be able to sign contracts and cover duties and guarantees officially, which the community cannot take or be held responsible for.
One of our main goals is to improve our infrastructure and continuously work on the essentials and requirements of our distro as a professional endeavor. Our hope is to soon be able to include additional contributors on a paid basis.
The long-term goal of the company’s commercial activities is to become financially self-sustaining, thereby securing the viability of the whole project, and the community. The company will also hold the registered trademarks for the EU and the US and act to prevent unauthorized use of Manjaro as a brand.
The company’s statutes ensure that the name Manjaro can always be used freely by the community while preventing harm to the project by associating wrongfully or under false terms with Manjaro and exploit its good reputation.
With these changes, Manjaro is better placed for financial security, building ties with businesses and other organizations, and recognition as a serious player in the Linux world.
I wish philm, partners and team of Manjaro all tbe best in their new endeavour but remain doubtful.